Monday, September 6, 2010

Again with the drastic unannounced schedule changes.

So it's 0910 this morning and I'm sitting in my classroom reading through student comments about my predecessor and wondering why the halls are empty and the students I was expecting 10 minutes ago haven't arrived.  I step out into the hall and hear what sounds like some kind of assembly going on somewhere else in the building.  Okay.  Has my morning class been postponed?  Canceled?  Rescheduled?  Someone knows, but not me.  I go back to my office but don't find anyone who speaks English.  Back to the classroom.

At 0930, students start arriving.  When my co-teacher arrives she hands me the day's new schedule:  classes start 30 minutes late and are 5 minutes shorter than normal.  Okay.

But that's not all!  Later in the afternoon, my supervisor tells me I need to go collect my ARC (Korean green card) today.  Like in a serious hurry.  I applied for the thing last Monday (took ~5 hours).  At the time, my supervisor seemed pretty put out by my request to register for an ARC and only agreed to help me with it because it was "important to [me]."  She reinforced several times that I'd have to wait until Tuesday (tomorrow) to pick it up because of my Monday after-school class.  My responsibility to the school was far more important than this card. 

Today she almost pushed me out of the office.  It was of the utmost importance to her that I leave immediately after my final normal class and rush with all possible haste to the immigration office to collect my ARC.  Nothing was more important:  forget the after-school class!  She made all the arrangements to postpone it and drilled me on the best subway route for my journey, forcing a map I didn't need into my hands, urging me to hurry and ordering me to call her with my ARC number as soon as I had it.

What lit such a fire under her?  Turns out the education office has a deadline for registering new foreign teachers with the Korean pension and health services, something which can't be done without an ARC.  That deadline is tomorrow.  It's a good thing I raised the issue of the ARC early on, because it takes a week for immigration to print one and the deadline would've been missed if I hadn't registered by last Monday.

My point here is that the ARC was a totally unimportant inconvenience for my boss until she discovered a deadline looming over her.  Then it became priority #1.  And because shit rolls downhill, her problem became my problem and it was yours truly who had to make the epically sweaty hour-long trip to the immigration office.  And I consequently suffered one more schedule change:  my 90-minute after-school class, originally scheduled for today, will now be a 2.25-hour marathon next Monday.  And I still don't know what this morning's assembly thing was about.

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